Tag Archives: Chameleon

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Bannister Lake’s Chameleon: The Other Canadian Champion at the 2019 US Open Tennis Championships

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Bianca Andreescu’s spectacular win at the US Open Tennis Championships was an exciting moment for women’s tennis and for the entire country of Canada. As Canadians, we are thrilled for Bianca and excited to have handled the complexities of data management and aggregation for the US Open for the second straight year.

Bannister Lake’s Chameleon is the engine behind organizing the massive number of XML files and graphics that were strategically distributed and visualized on over 20 different video displays located throughout the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center. The various screens were viewed by a record number of 737,872 fans who attended this year’s event.

Real-time data on this scale presents enormous challenges. Bannister Lake’s technical and creative director, Al Savoie and the Bannister Lake development team were faced with reading and ingesting a wide variety of live data feeds from various sources, in various formats, including a new scoring system. The feeds then had to be organized within the Chameleon database and using the solution’s RESTful API distributed to specific screens-all of which had different editorial requirements, various graphical layouts and different dimensions. Some screens were formatted in portrait, some were ribbons, some landscape, and new this year were fascia displays courtside in the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Outside of practice courts producers would display upcoming schedules, player biographies, schedules and brackets, however the screens located outside the main stadiums could display subsets of the live action data; serve speeds, number of aces, unforced errors and other game specific data. Producers have come to understand that the signage displays are most engaging and effective when the live data content is relevant and targeted. Due to the nature of the competition, content was often substituted updated and versioned depending on events. Chameleon’s unique strength is the ability to utilize its query and RESTful functionality in tandem, to organize data to create datasets that have a specific editorial function.

Live Chameleon data was quickly called up using a “match ID” system that Savoie was instrumental in developing. This would confirm that the correct headshots, bios and stats would quickly and automatically be loaded with a simple match ID entry. This dramatically sped up workflows, eased pressure on operators in the control room and ensured consistent editorial accuracy.

Like Bianca, Bannister Lake looks forward to the challenges at next year’s US Open and are confident we’ll once again both perform like champions.

 


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GT World Tour 2 in Nürburgring

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June 21st and 22nd, I took part in season 2’s 2nd World Tour event of Gran Tourismo.  This stop took place at the famous Nürburgring 24h track in Germany. The esport tournament that took place was a relatively small event compared to the main attraction, the 24h ADAC race.  Nonetheless the GT event, went very well with Team Toyota winning the Manufacturer’s Series and Igor Fraga from Brazil went home with the Nations Cup Top Prize.

World Tour 1 took place in Paris in early March with Tour 3, New York happening in August, Tour 4 in Salzburg in September and Tour 5 in Tokyo in October.    That said, the focus of this blog isn’t on the tournament and work itself, but rather the adventure that goes along with it.

We’ll start with the race itself.   Race enthusiasts I’m sure are quite familiar with the ADAC 24h race, but for those who live in a bubble in North America, we might not be aware of this race that takes place over 24 hours in the middle of nowhere Germany.  Some 200,000 people come by to partake in this event, and catch a glimpse of these 200 vehicles driving at 200+ km/h for a full 24 hours.

You can wiki this info, but I’ll provide a Coles Notes version of it.  The race comprises of around 200 vehicles, with a minimum of 2 drivers/maximum 4 drivers participating.  Each allowed to drive for 150 mins with a 120 mins break in between drives. A single lap is around 28km give or take a few meters, and the winner is the team that drives the longest in distance over that 24 hour time period.   Past winner and record holder drive up to 158 laps… which equals driving from Halifax, through Montreal, to New York and finishing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.. Or… driving from NYC to Las Vegas. In 24 hours.

By my calculations, at about 11l/100km… that’s around 440 liters of fuel used per car, totally 89,000 liters of fuel.  And I was told about 200 tires per car are used throughout the tournament depending on conditions. That seems high, but what do I know.   

As I mentioned, there are around 200,000 visitors in attendance, 60,000 parking spaces available, 1.5 million square meters of camping sites, with 146 showers, and 680 mobile toilets positioned around the track.

Because this takes place, pretty much,  in the middle of nowhere, the production staff including myself stayed about 20 mins away at a campground.  Convenient, but with very little nearby in terms of amenities.

The days were long as is usual for this type of production.   But what makes it worth it, most of the time, is the after party. At other tours the after party usually takes place at the tournament’s location.  But for the Nürburgring stop, the party was even further in the middle of nowhere.

About 5 km away from the stands and venue, the crew took a bus to a parking location.  Once there, we arrived at a field 100,000 sq meters in size. We needed to walk to the grounds for about 1km.

Surrounded with thousands of people celebrating, playing discotech music, firing fireworks every few minutes, all the while, fast cars whizzing by every few seconds.

Pure tailgating style partying, along with bbq food was served at our GT chained fenced location, where all the players, organizers were enjoying their time watching the cars go by.  

The always talented DJ Lenny Ibizarre was again the entertainment at this after party offering a wide range of dance music while providing some dance moves of his own.  

DJ Ibizarre. Picture Courtesy of JZ.

I, as always, had a great time with the Boombox crew.  

A thank you to PDI and Kazunori Yamauchi for again, making this tournament happen.

Some people ended up staying late into the wee early morning, but I had to catch a flight at 9:50am in Frankfurt.   By midnight, the race still had 15 ½ hours to go. By the time the race ended, I was already 30,000 ft over Newfoundland.


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Corus Entertainment: Driving New Business And Operational Efficiencies With Bannister Lake Software

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Corus Entertainment is one of Canada’s largest media and content companies with assets in radio, television and online. The broadcast television side of the company is a mix of over-the-air broadcast stations and specialty cable channels. Like all media organizations, it is observing dramatic shifts in audience viewing habits and in the way advertising dollars are being designated. Corus is responding proactively to address the changing media marketplace, developing innovative technology and content solutions. It is a pioneer in Canada, creating consolidated news production facilities, building a national infrastructure with sophisticated content sharing capabilities and extending their various brands across multiple platforms. Corus also broke new ground in leveraging live data; both as a content source and as a driver of video and content to new platforms. Early on, Corus saw the value that data had as an editorial source that could be extended over its many media properties and as a powerful tool to strategically distribute content.

Data empowers Corus to accomplish two essential things: add significant editorial value to its multiple media properties and secondly, open new market opportunities driving untapped ad revenue. To meet these objectives and take full advantage of their data and content, Corus’ Global News division turned to Bannister Lake, a leading provider of professional video graphic display solutions for broadcast.

In working with Corus, Bannister Lake focused on three essential data-rich areas: elections, information tickers and creating new media products and services. Across Global News’ broadcast operations, Bannister Lake’s Elector election race software is being used to produce municipal, provincial and federal coverage. Elector allows editorial staff to quickly and effectively filter race results, identify important trends, make race calls and in turn populate and display dynamic election graphics on-air or online.

“Elector has become our go-to software solution for all our election coverage. It works great on municipal, provincial and federal races. Both our editorial and technical staff love its ease of use and quick implementation,” says Gerry Belec, director of news technology and operations at Corus Entertainment.

Across Global News, Bannister Lake powers L-Bars, tickers, and sponsor logos on all the local morning news programs. The key tool Global News uses to make all this possible is Bannister Lake’s Chameleon software. Chameleon provides Global News with a single data/graphics management solution that drives a wide variety of graphic playout devices across the entire Global News organization. By centralizing data through Chameleon, Corus not only realizes operational efficiencies, but also permits broadcast sales to create new media products and sell both national and local sponsorships on all its broadcast tickers. Editorially, Chameleon enables Global News to integrate the widest possible variety of data sources on-air, including social media feeds, financial data, sports scores, closings and atypical feeds such as community events calendars.

Corus foresees Chameleon playing an expanded and valuable role as the media company develops and launches multi-platform solutions, expands online, distributes more content via partnerships and explores innovative media opportunities.

Global News takes advantage of BLADE, Chameleon’s RESTful API feature, allowing them to manage and distribute specific portions of a data feed. With BLADE, Global News can effortlessly direct their content to various output channels including thousands of screens across digital signage networks in multiple cities across Canada. This has fostered new revenue and promotional opportunities for Corus and has dramatically improved brand recognition. BLADE allows Global News to target specific end points strategically with content designated for that output.

Corus and Global News further benefit from Bannister Lake’s development strategy that emphasizes multi-user, web-based solutions while still maintaining high levels of security. Teams from across the country can simultaneously access the solution, load content, query data and create and edit playlists, but only according to their user status. Should unusual operational issues emerge, Bannister Lake’s development team can write custom code resolving the issue.

“We look forward to a long and creative partnership with Corus. We are thrilled that our software and custom services can be plugged into so many aspects of their business”, says Georg Hentsch, Bannister Lake’s founder.

Also published in
TV Technology


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Bannister Lake’s Alain Savoie to Present at the 2019 NAB Show Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference (BEITC)

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Bannister Lake announced today that Alain Savoie, the company’s creative and technical director, will be presenting his co-authored white paper, “New Methodologies in Real-Time Data Aggregation and Management for Broadcast Presentation and Distribution” at the 2019 NAB Show. Along with Savoie, the paper was written by Bannister Lake’s Vernon Freedlander who heads strategic partnerships and the company’s president, Georg Hentsch. The presentation takes place on Wednesday, April 10 at 4 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center room N260.

Live data, its management and visualization, have become an integral part of the broadcast and visual communications workflow. Whether used in fast-moving, dynamic on-air presentations such as elections, news, sports, eSports, or finance, or to populate and control on-air branding, effective live-data aggregation and management drives efficiencies and creates new monetization possibilities. As broadcasters seek out new revenue streams, live data plays a key role both online and in developing new markets such as streaming and digital signage.

Savoie will be speaking on several important data-related topics that directly impact the broadcast industry. The presentation will focus on unique data-driven engineering and development methodologies, and how broadcasters can take advantage of the data aggregation and management tools and techniques these methodologies foster to create more efficient and automated production workflows. Savoie will also explore how broadcasters can utilize real-time data to create and distribute new revenue-generating products and services. Savoie will use examples from broadcast, eSports, and event signage to illustrate.

Savoie is an industry authority on live-data-driven graphics. He has worked on numerous high-profile broadcast projects integrating data into innovative graphic solutions. At Bannister Lake he is responsible for integrating data feed content into Bannister Lake’s data aggregation and management technology suite and in turn outputting data to on-air graphic systems throughout the broadcast and event ecosystem. Savoie works directly with engineers, designers, editorial teams, and event producers offering training, commissioning, graphic operations, and consultation to meet any data and technical requirement within the production and graphic display workflow.

At the 2019 NAB Show Bannister Lake will be highlighting its flagship data aggregation and graphics management solution, Chameleon. Chameleon provides networks and station groups with unparalleled data aggregation, graphics management, and visualization possibilities. Beyond broadcast, the Chameleon solution is used in multiple data applications: OTT, streaming, digital signage, HTML5, online, and mobile. Chameleon reads, ingests, and manages multiple, diverse data feeds through an advanced web interface, providing users with full control over incoming data. Users can edit, moderate, blend, and manage datasets to generate completely customizable and automated tickers, L-bars, full frame graphics, and branding elements.

Be sure to visit Bannister Lake at the 2019 NAB Show, Booth SL5616.


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Bannister Lake to Highlight New Feature Set and NDI Version of Chameleon Data Aggregation and Graphic Management Solution at 2019 NAB Show

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Bannister Lake’s industry-leading data and graphics management solution, Chameleon, will be in the spotlight at the 2019 NAB Show with a focus on the product’s new election, sponsorship, and security functionality.

As broadcasters start planning for the 2020 presidential election, Chameleon boasts improvements to its election race modules, providing producers with more options to ingest and manage result data feeds, referendums, propositions, and acclaimed candidates.

The latest release highlights Chameleon’s ability to drive online, mobile, and social media election experiences by feeding data to web widgets and automatically sending out tweets based on Chameleon data conditions. These exciting features allow producers to utilize Chameleon data to visualize election results interactively, presenting innovative new storytelling possibilities.

A new and improved sponsor module tracks and connects campaigns to specific sponsors, making as-run logging clearer and better defined. Chameleon also includes enhanced security features aligned with NIST guidelines with improved password protection.

Bannister Lake has also focused a great deal of attention on social media, enhancing Chameleon’s Twitter search capabilities and improving the product’s media module, introducing bins for organizing content and the enablement of multi-file uploads.

Product demonstrations will feature projects focused on Bannister Lake’s recent work in elections, eSports, and event signage.

At NAB, Bannister Lake will also be introducing a new version of its Chameleon NDI player, providing NDI users with the ability to fully manage and visualize live data feeds. NDI users will be able to integrate, moderate, and customize multiple live data feeds into graphic templates and provide their audiences with real-time news, weather, sports, social media, financial, and customized data.

As part of NAB’s Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference (BEITC), Al Savoie, Bannister Lake’s creative and technical director, will be presenting his co-authored whitepaper “New Methodologies in Real-Time Data Aggregation and Management for Broadcast Presentation and Distribution.” The interactive session will explore Bannister Lake’s unique approach to data aggregation and feature production examples from both broadcast and eSports. Savoie’s presentation takes place on April 10 at 4 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center room N260.

In addition, NAB attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about Bannister Lake’s Zeus media storage and playout solution. Perfect for image- and clip-intensive production environments, Zeus provides producers with easy and immediate access to content. It is an ideal solution for home shopping channels, entertainment programs, news, sports productions, and any situation where high volume, quick turnaround, and unpredictability of clip and image requirements must be carefully managed. With minimum custom development, Zeus can be fully integrated with popular MAM systems, providing broadcasters with access to vast libraries of clip and image content.

Be sure to visit Bannister Lake at the 2019 NAB Show, Booth SL5616.


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Bannister Lake’s Chameleon Delivers 4K Graphic Content Over IP

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Bannister Lake announced today that its data aggregation and management solution, Chameleon, is now capable of outputting 4K UHD video over IP video networks. The solution was recently showcased at the InterBEE exhibition in Japan using Visionary Solutions’ PacketAV 4K DUET encoder and decoders.

Visionary Solutions’ PacketAV 4K video over IP encoders and decoders solve the transportation issues common with non-IP cabling solutions, allowing Chameleon graphics to play back smoothly on 4K monitors in any location.

“We are thrilled to see Chameleon successfully operational in a 4K over IP environment,” said Georg Hentsch, President, Bannister Lake. “This marks an important milestone as we continue to build on years of consistent innovation and presents a data and graphics management solution that performs exceptionally well in any resolution and in any broadcast environment.”

“I love how clients marvel at the simplicity and efficiency of this system,” said Doug Strable, sales representative for Bannister Lake and Visionary Solutions products in Japan. “Chameleon’s web-based interface allows a non-technical user to update the information on all platforms, and the PacketAV DUET 4K encoders and decoders allow content to be displayed through a standard LAN network. The combined system is easy to set up, easy to maintain and easy to update.”

Chameleon graphics rendered to HTML5 were transported over a standard 1 Gigabyte network to multiple 4K video monitors with native 4K image quality, while maintaining its industry-leading data management functionality.

As the international broadcast industry continues to experiment and migrate to 4K over IP workflows, it is vitally important that graphics technologies keep pace with developments and support the trend. Similarly, the production community requires solutions that allows data content to be quickly repurposed to find value in a 4K environment.

Bannister Lake is an industry leader in data and graphics management, providing software and services for a broad range of broadcast and digital signage projects, including real-time election results, social media integration, financial, sports, news, and eSports.


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Bannister Lake Releases Chameleon Version 10 Real-Time Data Aggregation and Graphics Management Solution

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Chameleon, Bannister Lake’s data aggregation and graphics management solution is introducing dramatic new enhancements with a strong focus on election data. Within its election module, Chameleon Version 10 improves how election data is ingested and managed. The new release expands the ability to enter manual election results where data feeds may not be available. This is particularly useful in less populated districts or in jurisdictions where it is not practical to organize a real-time results feed. The new functionality also provides an important failsafe in situations where a data feed may have stopped working.

In addition, Chameleon Version 10 dramatically improves the management of referendum and proposition results, providing editorial staff with more options for displaying down-ballot data. The election module also features improved management and filtering for acclaimed candidates.

“We realize that elections are more than just national events. These new features help ensure that broadcasters covering races in remote locations or in smaller communities can use data on-air more effectively,” said Bannister Lake’s President, Georg Hentsch.

The new release highlights Chameleon’s ability to feed data to web widgets, allowing producers to visualize data interactively online or on mobile devices. This feature drives new storytelling opportunities not only for elections, but also for news, sports and financial data. Bannister Lake is also introducing support for automatically sending out tweets based on Chameleon data conditions, enriching live data experiences on social media.

Chameleon Version 10 also provides improved sponsorship management, allowing users to manage campaign and client data more efficiently. The new and improved sponsor module tracks and connects campaigns to specific sponsors, making as-run logging clearer and better defined.

The new version of the product also includes enhanced security features aligned with NIST guidelines with improved password protection. Chameleon now offers clients an upgraded password strength checker and warns users when they are changing their password to a common password based on a list of the 1,000,000 most used passwords.

Version 10 also boosts Chameleon’s query functionality, its ability to filter custom data, introduces media bins for organizing media into containers and additional support for the onboard HTML5 designer tool.

Chameleon Version 10 is now available. Bannister Lake is dedicated to releasing new features and functionality several times a year to improve the capabilities of its software products.


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Bannister Lake Successfully Concludes the FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Championships 2018 World Final in Monaco

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Bannister Lake, the leading provider of professional broadcast data aggregation and visualization solutions, today announced that its Chameleon data aggregation and management software played an integral role in delivering editorial and graphic content for the FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Championships 2018 Series. The tournament has quickly become one of the world’s most popular eSports events featuring the best Gran Turismo drivers. Chameleon was used during the championships run-ups in Salzburg, Madrid, and Las Vegas leading up to the world finals in Monaco that took place Nov. 16-18. In all, the tournament covered four international regions over a three-month period, ultimately reducing the field of hundreds of contestants down to 30 finalists.

In partnership with Montreal’s The Boombox Group, Bannister Lake provided the event’s data management solution populating graphics both in-venue and for the tournament’s web broadcasts. Chameleon was used to filter data coming from Google Sheets and organize data for each of the competition’s races. Chameleon also provided the event with tournament standings based on points and finish position and its BLADE RESTful API was used to reformat data content to make it readily available to graphics engines for display.

Bannister Lake has worked on numerous eSports and high-profile sporting events including the recent FIFA eWorld Cup™ 2018 and the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships. Both events used Chameleon to aggregate a wide variety of data content, moderate and manage content, and distribute it to various output channels.

“The FIA-Certified Gran Turismo Championships had its own unique challenges, but we were able to take full advantage of our production experience,” said Al Savoie, Bannister Lake’s technical and creative director who supervised data graphics integration onsite. “A great example of this is our ability to trigger specific graphics directly from the switcher to sync driver cameras, with their corresponding lower thirds. This gave the technical director the ability to go to three boxes at any time and have the correct name, flag, and manufacture of each of the drivers.”

Bannister Lake’s Chameleon has quickly become a popular choice for eSports production, providing a more engaging experience for fans while creating new revenue opportunities for event organizers. By aggregating and displaying multiple real-time data sources, it enables fans to receive added editorial information while allowing sponsors to generate more impressions.


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Passed the finish line with Gran Turismo World Championship 2018

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The 2018 Gran Turismo World Championship concluded this weekend in Monaco, with a thrilling end to a 3 month, 4 region tournament showcasing the world’s best GT eSport drivers.  3 regional finals took place in Tokyo, Madrid and Las Vegas filtering the hundreds of competitors down to the top 30 players, competing for the first ever Nations Cup in Monte Carlo.  

Boombox, our partner, also produced the eFifa 2018 World Championships, were again at the production helm, responsible for the on-air web broadcasts of the tournaments.  Once again, Bannister Lake was called upon to assist with on-air graphics and data management.  Polyphonic Digital Inc (PDI), the makers of the world famous game, assisted in providing data for the tournaments.

For Bannister, we had a few challenges that had to be overcome.  With the experience from US Open and eFIFA, it made some of the challenges easier to overcome.  On this project, I was the sole Xpression operator, operating 2 Xpressions, monitoring google sheets data, moderating 3 different formats of competition (semi-finals, Manufactures Series and the finals format) and playing out some of the in venue stage screens.  

Dashboard, a Ross UI platform assisted in making things easier as some triggers required more than 1 graphic and output channel to be triggered in sync.  We also linked PBus connection with the switcher, in order to sync driver cameras, with their lowerthirds.  This gave the technical director the ability to go to 3 boxes at any time and have the correct name/flag/manufacture of each of the drivers. 

Chameleon was once again used to filter some of the data coming from google sheets, and categorizing them for each of the competition formats, along with standings based on points and finish position.  

It was a fun project.  Considering we were using a European TV Production truck… it was amazing working on an English produced show, in a German truck with Dutch Engineers, Japanese clients, with a French production crew, produced in a Spanish, French and American country. 

TJ Walker (Head of Production, Boombox) and William Robitaille (Director & TP, Boombox) testing out the game

 

Jay Zusko, Technical Director. Testing out the game.

 

Make shift control room in Las Vegas

 

Myself and Toyo-San Teramoto, from PDI, responsible for in-game stats

 

Kazunori Yamauchi, Head of Gran Turismo with Sarah Lemarchand, Producer for Boombox

 

Boombox ENG crew posing in Madrid

 

European Final Stage

 

Monaco stage in-progress

 

Las Vegas game monitors

 

Control Room in Marquee Nightclub in Las Vegas

 


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The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Selects Bannister Lake to Integrate Live Data-Driven Graphics

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Bannister Lake, the leading provider of professional broadcast data aggregation and visualization solutions, today announced that the company’s graphic integration services were used to generate key graphics for the special live election night broadcast of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Nov. 6. To help audiences visualize the unfolding results of the midterm elections, The Late Show’s production team turned to Bannister Lake to prepare and integrate graphics into the live broadcast that showed the House of Representatives and the Senate populated with the number of elected officials.

The Late Show used Google Sheets to tie data to the graphics and to manually make changes as required. During the election special, Bannister Lake’s role focused on transforming The Late Show’s creative graphic concepts into templates ready for playout. The graphic work was performed by Bannister Lake’s Creative and Technical Director Al Savoie, and data integration was carried out by The Late Show’s production staff.

“Bannister Lake has a long-standing relationship with key members of the graphics team at The Late Show and when we were asked to help out with its election coverage, we immediately said yes,” said Savoie. “We have done countless election broadcasts integrating data and graphics, but we’re especially honored to have been chosen by The Late Show’s team and take part of midterm election history.”

Bannister Lake provides software and services for managing and visualizing data for a broad range of projects including real-time election results, social media, financial information, sports, news, and weather. Bannister Lake’s flagship software solution, Chameleon, is the industry’s most advanced broadcast data engine that allows users to input any kind of data to populate and manage graphic templates. With Chameleon’s Google Sheets Custom Reader, media producers can automatically pull data content from Google Sheets cells and seamlessly populate graphic templates. In addition, producers are able to take full advantage of Google Sheets’ sharing capabilities, granting access and editing rights to multiple users contributing to the content. Data can be organized by topic and displayed using the Google Sheet tab, with Chameleon’s Google Sheets Custom Reader capable of handling multiple sheets and tabs for an efficient and elegant way to display complex broadcast graphics.